I wished I had you in Carrickfergus
Only for nights in Ballygrand
I would swim over the deepest ocean
The deepest ocean to be by your side
“Carrickfergus” is an Irish folk song, named after the town of Carrickfergus in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It was first recorded, under the name “The Kerry Boatman”, by Dominic Behan on an LP called “The Irish Rover”, released in 1965.
Van Morrison has performed “Carrickfergus” 86 times live (1988, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2002 & 2003) – top year was 1989 with 31 performances.
I love this song, and no one does it better than Van Morrison. Here are three brilliant versions.
From the album “Irish Heartbeat” w/The Chieftains:
And the caravan is on it’s way
I can hear the merry gypsies play
Mama mama look at Emma Rose
She’s a-playin with the radio
La, la, la, la…
Originally recorded on July 30, 1969 at Mastertone Studios in New York City with Lewis Merenstein as producer. Released on “Moondance” January 27, 1970.
The gypsy life and the radio are both images of harmony, images that bless. Van is “getting back into the romanticism bit with gypsies and all that. I´m really fascinated by gypsies. I love them.” Van Morrison also based the song on real memories while living in a rural house in Woodstock, New York, where the nearest house was far down the road. He described why he included the reference to radio in the song:
-Brian Hinton (Celtic Crossroads)
I’m goin’ out west where the wind blows tall
‘Cause Tony Franciosa used to date my ma
They got some money out there, they’re givin’ it away
I’m gonna do what I want and I’m gonna get paid
Do what I want and I’m gonna get paid
Bone Machine’s standout track was “Goin’ out West,” a throwback to the demonic R&B of “Heartattack and Vine” and “16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought Six.” Over possibly the greatest drum sound ever—Waits whacking what sounds like a metal door— Joe Gore and Larry Taylor created an infernal Cramps-ish racket that put the likes of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion utterly in the shade. Waits raged away in the guise of a wannabe actor en route to California, a deluded ex-con who claimed he looked good with his shirt off and planned to call himself Hannibal or Rex. The song was Elmore Leonard’s Be Cool distilled into three frenzied minutes, a capsule snapshot of a dumb Everglades hunk with a head full of celluloid fantasies. Waits had seen dolts like this swarming into LA for years.
-Barney Hoskyns (Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits)
Send me your picture
Send me your pillow
Send it through Krishna
On the Vanlose Stairway
..A larger point to be made with “Vanlose Stairway” is that no matter what words Morrison is singing, it is the music and singing itself that offers a glimpse at the soul — the true inspiration of the term soul music. And Morrison is nothing if not a soul singer. The lyrics just happen to add to the soul-stirring music. It does not matter that most people have no idea what Vanlose refers to, especially given that Morrison does not pronounce it correctly. But the descending three chords of the verse — played by a horn section and turnaround uplifting chorus — hit the listener on a gut level, especially on the powerful live recording of the song on A Night in San Francisco (1994), which truly transcends anything mere words could communicate.
-Bill Janovitz (allmusic.com)
Vanlose Stairway is track 7 on his 1982 album, Beautiful Vision. It has been performed 729 times live (289 times as part of a medley) according to ivan.vanomatic.de (great website btw).
Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on
Ground Control to Major Tom (ten, nine, eight, seven, six)
Commencing countdown, engines on (five, four, three)
Check ignition and may God’s love be with you (two, one, liftoff)
…Finally, he teamed up with Elton John producer Gus Dudgeon to create “Space Oddity,” a song he’d been fiddling with all year. The folk ballad about astronaut Major Tom getting stranded in space was rushed out by his label to coincide with the launch of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and the BBC played the song during the coverage of the event. “In England, it was always presumed that it was written about the space landing, because it kind of came to prominence around the same time. But it actually wasn’t,” he told Performing Songwriter. “It was written because of going to see the film 2001, which I found amazing.
Well, I woke up Sunday morning
With no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad
So I had one more for dessert
Then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes
And found my cleanest dirty shirt
Then I washed my face and combed my hair
And stumbled down the stairs to meet the day
This country classic is written by Kris Kristofferson and was popularized in 1969 by Ray Stevens before becoming a number one hit for Johnny Cash.